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Woman planning friend's child-free wedding expects to bring kids and their sitter, 'no exceptions.' AITA?

Woman planning friend's child-free wedding expects to bring kids and their sitter, 'no exceptions.' AITA?

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"AITA for expecting to have my kids' sitter watch them at a wedding?"

I am an experienced wedding planner (14+ years) who offered to help a close family friend with her wedding. I have known the bride her entire life and offered a 50% discount on my planning services & waived travel fees (destination wedding) given I was also invited to attend. I have been planning with her for over a year and the wedding is 3 months away.

It is a destination wedding for nearly everyone attending, myself included. I have gone above and beyond to help her given our personal connection, including planning two other wedding weekend events not in our contract, replanning the entire wedding 9 months out because she decided to change locations, as well as dealing with communication from her well outside of my typical business hours (even after setting firm boundaries).

My husband, my Mom and I have all been invited to the wedding. I also have two toddlers (3y, 4y) who have to travel with us as we’d be gone for 4 days. Last summer I had a conversation with the bride about getting sitter recommendations from her friends locally for our kids so we could have someone watch them in a room at the venue as I wasn’t comfortable with them being watched by a stranger 45 minutes away from me in another state. I made travel arrangements for my family and I to the tune of close to $4k (flights, accommodations, rental car, etc.).

During a recent conversation I mentioned the kids coming with us and the bride acted surprised but didn’t say anything one way or the other. Fast forward a week and she reached out asking if I was planning to have the kids at the venue. I said yes, that they’d be watched in one of the back rooms by the sitter so they would be nearby & so I’d know they were safe (as I’d mentioned 7 months prior).

The bride then says that she told other family members they couldn’t bring their kids and that she didn’t want to set a double standard by allowing me to bring mine - “no exceptions." I know for a fact that she does not have family members with young children, so this was confusing to me.

She said I should’ve asked her and not assumed, but I pointed out that I’ve been planning with her for over a year and not once was anything about kids mentioned anywhere - not in save the dates, invites, wedding website, conversation, etc.

The bride has a history of being stubborn and narcissistic, and it became clear she wasn’t going to make an exception for me, so I rescinded my husband’s RSVP and now have to cancel their non-refundable flights ($2k ish) and go alone to handle/attend the wedding.

I feel like I have gone above and beyond for her as a friend and wedding planner & the least she could do is to allow me to have my kids watched onsite (NOT attend or participate in any way). As a wedding planner - I am aware that kids at weddings are a tricky subject and I absolutely understand not wanting them at the event itself, but I would have ensured they remained corralled in the back area fully separate from guest view. Am I the ahole?

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

HoosierBeaver said:

I sure hope you got payment up front. If you didn’t, don't expect to be paid at all. I’d give her an invoice now, and tell her unless it’s paid within say, 14 days, you will no longer be performing any wedding duties and she’s on her own.

HolyGonzo said:

I don't understand what difference it makes to the bride whether your kids are 3 minutes away or 3 hours away. If they're not there at the wedding, that should be the extent of what matters. NTA.

Rooney_Tuesday said:

NTA. There’s not issue with the kids being nearby as long as they’re not at the wedding. Wedding culture has gotten ridiculously out of control if we’re to the point that kids being unseen and unheard are an issue.

Why do you have to cancel your husband and kids’ non-refundable flights though? If you’re going to the wedding without them, why not just let your husband and kids go to the park or the movies or something while you’re at the wedding, or swim in the hotel pool? The rest of the time you can be on vacation with them.

Whole-Fly said:

I kind of think YTA here. You’re bringing your kids to work, why can’t they stay at the hotel with your husband? You mention in an earlier comment that you want to spend time with them - that’s the entire reason the bride doesn’t want kids there.

I’m surprised you’re getting so much support because Reddit is usually all about child free weddings and I think if you posed the question “I’m bringing my kids to a childfree wedding but having them wait in a back room with a sitter” you’d be the AH big time.

Forward-Wear7913 said:

NTA. I think you have gone above and beyond. She is being ridiculous. It would not harm her in any way to have your children in another room. Don’t do anything at this point above what is in the contract.

huskymotherof2 said:

YTA because as an "experienced wedding planner" you should have known you cant be both a guest as well as have a job at the wedding. You are being unprofessional and not establishing clear boundaries yet blaming her. This is usually why people don't mix business with friendship and for someone who has "14 years plus" experience should 100% know better. Stop trying to bring your kids to work.

3fluffypotatoes said:

ESH. The bride for not communicating until so late the no kids rule and you for 1) wanting to bring children to an event you're working aka work. And 2) wanting to now cancel your husband's non-refundable tickets because you don't see the point of him watching the kids at the hotel.

While the opinions were slightly divided here, most people agreed that everyone might be at fault here. What's your advice for this wedding drama?

Sources: Reddit
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